International Cooperation Required to Meet Challenges

  • 29 June 2010

Even though economic challenges facing countries around the world are growing, the level of international cooperation needed to contain its consequences continues to be limited. That is the reason why both the Group of Eight (G8) and Group of Twenty (G20) Summits that were held in Canada recently could not reach an agreement on how to deal with such issues at a global level. The participants during both the summits agreed on the seriousness of these challenges. The G8 Summit took up issues such as terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, efforts being made by some countries to possess it and its ramifications on the international security and stability. The G20, on the other hand, focused on challenges facing the road to recovery from the global financial crisis, whose impact still exists. Although it was admitted that the situation is still difficult both the summits could not arrive at a comprehensive solution on how to tackle them.

A common understanding exists among the developed and developing countries regarding the nature of the challenges that the world faces today. It is also clear that there are deep disputes amongst them on the strategies to confront them. However, it is also true that both the summits announced important steps to promote international framework on these issues. The G8, which comprises major industrial countries, pledged to challenge the dangers of terrorism and vowed to uproot extreme violence. In its final communiqué the G20, that has members from both developed and the developing world, urged cooperation among member countries to stabilize the economy.

Nonetheless, some difference of opinion also cropped up within the two groups leading to the failure in reaching an agreement. For example, G8 could not end the divide over plans to tackle climate change. Also it could not pledge to fulfill its obligation in respect to ending the Doha Round in 2010 so as to reach a multilateral international trade treaty this year at the World Trade Organization. There were also disagreements within the G20 on the ways to deal with the global financial crisis and how to ensure that such a phenomenon is not repeated in the future.

Challenges facing the world have become so complicated and interwoven that no country, regardless of its capabilities, could deal with on its own. This, in turn, compels them to work to promote the international cooperation not only to challenge and contain its future repercussions but also to work out mechanisms that contribute to the early detection of such crises. It is true that important steps have been taken on the road to international cooperation but there still is an urgent need to take more comprehensive steps that deals with all challenges. This should be done in a manner that takes into account the interests of all countries under collective international frameworks such as the G8 and the G20 through which ideas could be gathered to help build international cooperation.